Some animals the ability to camouflage themselves, and soon, that ability may be common in some robots. That’s right, researchers have developed a bizarre robot that can mimic a chameleon’s color-changing capabilities and movement. Real chameleons use their muscles to expand and contract tiny crystals on an upper layer of their skin to change color, but this robot relies on a thin liquid crystal layer that changes colors based on temperature. Read more for a video and additional information.
Several layers of nanowire heaters were stacked beneath the crystal layer, and these layers contained different patterns, ranging from dots to grids. This means that by selectively heating layers, the researchers were able to create colorful patterns that help the robot blend in with its surroundings. A color sensor transmits data so the artificial chameleon skin can change its color to match backgrounds in real-time.
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[Building] a first prototype was very slow. This chameleon skin, the surface, basically is a kind of display. It can be used for a soft or stretchable or flexible display,” Seung Hwan Ko, a professor of thermal engineering at Seoul National University.